There are a few ways to bind a quilt, so which one do you choose? I’m here today to tell you how I bind my quilts. I’ve worked out a pretty good system over the years, and it works for me every time. The first post in this series will teach you how to make the binding yourself, which is lots of fun! The next post will teach you how to attach the binding to your quilt.
First, how much binding do you need? If you don’t have an easy app like the Robert Kaufman Quilt Calculator, there is a simple calculation that you can do to figure out how many strips of fabric to cut out. It will need the length and width of your finished and trimmed quilt, so first go and get those measurements.
Got it? Ok, now we need to do a little bit of quilt math. But don’t worry, it will be easy! Using the formula below, round the resulting value up to the next whole number. For example, if you get 4.5 from the formula, round up to 5 strips. WOF stands for the width of the fabric that you are using for your binding.
strips = (l+w)*2/(WOF-5)
Now that you know the number of strips you need, you can cut them out of your binding fabric. I don’t make my quilt binding on the bias, so I cut as many straight 2.5″ x WOF strips as I need. (If you’re using the Clover binding tool, your strips should be 2″ wide, not 2.5″.) Just make sure and cut off your selvage first, or you’ll be cutting it off each strip one by one. Trust me, I never forget this :)
Once you have them cut, you need to join them together. Take two strips and pair them 90 degrees off from each other like in the picture below, and sew on the diagonal.
Repeat with each strip along a row so that you have one very long strip. Trim off the excess fabric at each join (trim to 1/4″), and press the seams open.
At this point we have prepped our binding for ironing. If you’re like me, you have an old Simplicity bias tape maker. I am guessing that you already know how to use it, but if not, leave a comment below and I’ll make a post about it. You may also have a Clover binding tool, or you might not have anything at all. Either are ok! I’ll walk through how to use each option.
For the Clover binding tool, feed one end of your long strip through the tool. Hold the tool by the handle down on your ironing board, and press the fabric as it comes out, feeding the fabric under your iron. Wind it up as it comes through. Don’t leave your iron down too long though – give it breaks so you don’t burn your ironing board fabric.
For no tool at all, press your long strip in half, all the way to the end. It’ll take a little bit of time, but it will be worth it to have your own custom binding for your quilt!
If you have the Simplicity bias tape maker, it’s nice and easy to feed the strip through and get a big pile of ironed binding.
Now that you have your binding ready to go, it’s time to put it on your quilt! My next post in this series will walk you through how to attach the binding and complete your quilt.
Questions? Leave them below!